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  1. As Audi looks to slash costs in the wake of Volkswagen's dieselgate scandal, it has been revealed that the German marque won't design and engineer its own platforms anymore. German magazine Der Spiegel broke the news and reports that Audi's MLB platform could be the biggest victim of the money saving measures. The MLB architecture currently underpins all models from the A4 to the A8 and the Q5 and Q7 SUVs and for the next-generation range of models, could be replaced by Porsche's MSB platform built for both rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles. This would mean that Audi's mainstream A4 and A5 ranges would switch to longitude and rwd from transverse and fwd setup, offering rear-wheel drive for the first time. This decision could also see the carmaker ditch the mid-engined platform of the R8 supercar, spelling an end to the model as we know it. However, there is a possibility that the third-generation R8 could be based around the Porsche 911.
  2. The 250BHP VW Polo R is coming

    Full article on the VW Polo R release here.
  3. Did someone say Audi were lagging behind at in-car tech? The new Audi TT 2014 revealed at this year's CES gives a glimpse as to what they've got planned. Do you like the new in dash 12 inch TFT display?
  4. BMW M3 & M4 pics and info

    Thinking of replacing that tired, aging, guzzling V8 M3 with something similar, but different? Well, read on sir! BMW previews Individual program for the M3 and M4, including unique interior trim and colours Following the launch of the BMW M3 saloon and M4 coupe last week, the German manufacturer has announced an Individual program for each of the high-performance models. Unique paint colours and trim allow customers a much higher level of personalisation for their cars. The more practical M3 is been previewed wearing an Azurite Black finish with the M4 sporting Mineral White. Other colours including Alpine White, Sakhir Orange, Black Sapphire, Mineral Grey, Austin Yellow and Yas Marina will be available from launch. Inside, the four-door model is finished in brown leather with wood trim, while the M4 adopts a caramel finish with brushed aluminium inserts. Under the bonnet the M3 and M4 will share the same 424 bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Both are capable of hitting 62 mph in 3.9 seconds fitted with the M-DCT transmission, with the six-speed manual version getting there two tenths slower at 4.1 seconds. An official debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January has been set for both models, with sales beginning in June later that year. Prices start from £56,175 for the standard M3 saloon and £56,635 for the M4 Coupe.
  5. Lamborghini Huracán Revealed

    Some pictures and news of the Huracán (cut and paste is great eh!!) 600 bhp of V10 goodness and resultant soundtrack! The Lamborghini Huracán has been revealed. The all-wheel-drive model is powered by a V10 engine producing more than 600 bhp and has a top speed in excess of 200 mph. The Huracán replaces the Gallardo in Lamborghini’s line-up and is due to reach the UK in the autumn, after a public debut at the Geneva show in March. The model had been widely tipped to be called Cabrera, but Lamborghini has chosen Huracán — or Huracán LP610-4, to give it its full title — for the name. It continues Lamborghini’s convention of naming its cars after famous fighting bulls, Huracán being a legendary animal that fought in Alicante, Spain, in 1879. The Huracán follows the same basic formula as the Gallardo, itself the best-selling model in Lamborghini’s history with 14,022 units produced in its 10 years on sale. The Huracán renews Lamborghini’s assault on the fiercely fought supercar segment with more power and performance, new underpinnings, a high-quality new interior, a new look inspired by the larger Aventador and what the firm describes as an “innovative technology package”. Much of this specification appears to address the main criticisms of the outgoing Gallardo, which was feeling its age next to more powerful, more modern and higher-quality rivals such as the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12C. The mid-engined Huracán’s chassis mixes aluminium and carbonfibre components which, Lamborghini claims, provide “race-car precision with outstanding stiffness”. The chassis is to be shared with the second-generation Audi R8, due in 2015. Lamborghini had discussed the use of a carbonfibre monocoque for the Huracán, but parent firm Audi deemed the structure too costly to secure the necessary economies of scale for the R8. The Huracán’s chassis is understood to be clothed in a mixture of aluminium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bodywork panels. Lamborghini has not yet released official dimensions 
for the Huracán, but it appears to be only marginally bigger than its 4345mm long, 1900mm wide and 1165mm high predecessor, although a slight increase over the Gallardo’s 2560mm wheelbase should improve cabin space. Despite an increase in the use of lightweight materials in its construction, the dry weight of the Huracán has actually increased slightly over that of the Gallardo, from 1410kg to 1422 kg. This is most likely down to the amount of interior and dynamic technology that has been added to give the Huracán what Lamborghini claims is a combination of “absolute performance with easy-to-drive road behaviour” and a “luxurious and sports-orientated finish”. At the heart of the Huracán is a normally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine, heavily updated from its application in the Gallardo to the extent that Lamborghini calls it a new engine, with new direct and indirect injection systems. It makes 602 bhp at 8250 rpm and 413 lb ft at 6500 rpm, up from the 552 bhp at 8000 rpm and 398 lb ft at 6500 rpm produced by the Gallardo LP560-4. Top speed has not been quoted, but Lamborghini 
says it is “over 202mph” —
the claimed top speed of the Gallardo LP560-4. The Huracán can crack 0-62 mph in 3.2 sec and 0-124 mph in 9.9 sec, bettering the 0-62 mph time of the Gallardo LP560-4 by half a second. Economy is improved over the automatic version of the Gallardo LP560-4, from 19.2 mpg to 22.6 mpg, while CO2 emissions are down from 351 g/km to 290 g/km. (I know, it was your first question) The standard gearbox is no longer a six-speed manual but a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, christened Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) and derived from the dual-clutch auto recently added to the Audi R8. Lamborghini has yet to officially confirm the death of the manual gearbox from its range, but it would appear likely, given its absence from the Huracán’s launch line-up. The gearbox sends drive to the road through an electronically controlled all-wheel drive system. A switch on the steering wheel allows the driver to configure one 
of three dynamic modes — Strada, Sport and Corsa — to deliver a drive ranging from “traction orientated” to “extreme performance”. The system adjusts the engine and gearbox maps and the four-wheel drive system as part of an “extensive modification in the road behaviour of the Huracán”, according to Lamborghini. Carbon-ceramic brakes feature on the standard specification, while a variable steering system, called Lamborghini Dynamic Steering, and a magnetorheological adjustable damping set-up can be found on the options list. The styling is derived from the larger Aventador, including its profile, sharp edges, LED light designs and an engine cover with hexagonal detailing. The high-quality interior of the Huracán is a big step forward from the Gallardo. It features Nappa leather and Alcantara trim and upholstery, a new 12.3in TFT instrument display, increased multimedia options and a more luxurious feel. A full suite of customisable options will be offered. The Huracán will enter production on a newly equipped production line at Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata HQ in the spring. UK prices have yet to be revealed, but an increase over the £158,976+ Gallardo LP560-4 is expected. As with the Gallardo, expect a whole host of extra variants of the Huracán to follow, including an open-top Spyder, a higher-performance Superleggera and entry-level rear-wheel-drive versions. Ooohhh! New fairy lights!
  6. FWD. BMW. Tourer. SUV. and breathe. I could not bring myself to type those words in 1 sentence. Not that your average punter will notice the difference in driven wheels in 99% of situations. The new BMW 2-series Active Tourer MPV has been spotted undisguised. This 225i model was caught during an official photoshoot. This is the first front-wheel-drive BMW in the company's history. The model is likely to go on sale at the beginning of 2014 as a five-seat model, with the seven-seat version also going on sale by the end of next year. Its styling remains true to the Active Tourer concept seen in Tokyo earlier this year. A BMW insider told Autocar this would be "the most functional BMW ever" and that choosing a front-wheel-drive format didn't mean compromises. "It's clearly a premium product," he said "and it has been designed with dynamism and athleticism in mind. It is still a BMW." While much of the engine lineup is still unknown, sources suggest BMW could utilise a three-cylinder turbocharged unit to power some of the range. In additon, the 235i model will use a 231 bhp unit, which should allow it to reach 62mph in 6.9 seconds, with a top speed of 146 mph. CO2 emissions should be less than 140g/km, while the car should return more than 39.2 mpg. Inside, the 2-series Active Tourer will have elevated seating with easy access and plenty of space. The rear seats will be split 40:20:40, while the boot should offer around 400 litres of space with the rear seats up, rising to 1200 litres with them down. Both the rear row of seats and the front passenger seat will be able to fold forward, increasing loadable space even more. As seen in these spy shots, a large panoramic roof will also be an option. The move opens up new target groups for BMW, and will allow the brand to push for new customers. Europe is expected to account for two thirds of customer sales, but interest for the model in Asia and the US is also strong.
  7. And goes further too, so might actually be usable?! Bonus! Audi has backtracked on an earlier decision to cancel production of the R8 etron, and will now push ahead with small-scale production of the zero-emission two-seater as part of a number of sweeping changes made to its research and engineering operations since the arrival of its new head, Ulrich Hackenberg. Citing recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology that has reportedly increased its range from an original 215km (134 miles) to close to 400km (248.5 miles), insiders at Audi’s headquarters in Germany suggest the R8 etron will now go into limited production during the latter half of 2014. The rear-wheel-drive R8 etron is set to act as a halo model for a number of smaller and more affordable new electric-powered Audi models, whose engineering is being overseen by Hackenberg – the man responsible for parent company Volkswagen’s new e-Up and e-Golf, among other hybrid-powered models, including the XL1 and Golf Plug-In Hybrid. Among the changes made to the R8 etron to enhance its suitability for production is a new lithium battery technology featuring an alternative chemical process and, it is claimed, greater energy density than the original 48.6kWh unit. Further details remain unclear, although the new car is expected to share the styling of the second-generation R8 – itself due to be launched with conventional petrol engines in 2014. The R8 etron was conceived from the outset around the second-generation R8’s new aluminium and carbonfibre body structure in a move that saw prototypes possess a kerb weight of 1780 kg. With a combined output of 376 bhp and a stout 605 lb ft of torque from two electric moto rs, the earlier R8 etron driven by Autocar back in May was claimed to possess a 0-62 mph time of 4.2 sec and limited 124 mph top speed. However, plans for production were cancelled due to concerns about the all-electric supercar’s limited 215 km range
  8. New 'stang!

    Will be available In right hand drive AND!!!!! in half 'stang mode. (ie 4 cylinder engine option ) Oh, and it might cost from £30K upwards. The new Ford Mustang has been officially revealed, and will go on sale in the UK with right-hand drive for the first time in more than four decades. The all-new Mustang, seen here officially for the first time, will be launched on 17 April 2014, 50 years to the day after the original was launched in the US. It is the latest global model developed under the ‘One Ford’ plan, but Ford claims that 
the character has not been altered as a result. The car has already been seen in a series of leaked images online. “We didn’t decide to do a global Mustang,” said programme boss Dave Pericak. “We decided to take the Mustang global.” It’s a vital distinction. “Everything we do is to make a Mustang, and then take it global with homologation. We didn’t change the recipe.” That the hugely successful current model was the conceptual starting point is partial proof of that, even if “the only commonality is the wheelbase — every sheet metal panel is different, and only two fasteners are retained”. The biggest difference is that the Mustang has finally adopted independent rear suspension, 30 years after most manufacturers jettisoned live rear axles. Ride quality is improved greatly and the 
front suspension is also redesigned as a result, according to Pericak. The new car sits on 19-inch wheels. The latest Mustang is lighter and stiffer and its bigger cabin benefits from a major quality upgrade. The double-wing dashboard style of the 1964 and 2004 cars remains. Big dials and aeronautical graphics complete this familiar but 
more sophisticated confection. An eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is located in the centre of the cabin, and will be equipped with navigation software for Europe. Entirely new to the Mustang is a 305 bhp/300lb ft 2.3-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost engine. Pericak claims that it’s “a ton of fun 
to drive, very well balanced 
and rewarding. It sounds powerful and like it belongs 
in a Mustang”. The 5.0-litre V8 is the carried-over 420 bhp/390 lb ft Coyote motor and will be upgraded to 500 bhp within 18 months. The base 3.7-litre V6, which won’t come to the UK, is unchanged at 305 bhp. Ford had planned to ditch this engine but has kept it in the US to keep the Mustang’s base price low. The six-speed manual and auto transmissions are unaltered, too, which means optional steering-wheel mounted paddles are also retained. A 10-speed automatic is in development, but is still two years away. The new look of this latest Mustang is “definitely not retro”, according to Pericak. “We’re looking into the future and the next 50 years.” However, as design boss Moray Callum explained, making the new Mustang “instantly recognisable” was a priority. The proportions are improved, and the bluff front end is retained, along with the forward-leaning, “shark-bite” grille, he said. The wedged flanks of the outgoing car have given way to horizontal lines and tautly muscled wheelarches “that support the powerdome bonnet”, said Callum, “and the triple bar tail-lights could only be a Mustang”. Plenty of signature Mustang design features are absent, including the ‘C’ scoops in the flanks and the shapely rear side windows made famous by the Shelby Mustang. Callum talked about “editing” the palette of Mustang design flourishes, because it’s impractical to include them all and they didn’t want a retro design. That said, the convertible’s silhouette echoes the 1964 notchback Mustang, its elegant fabric hood needing just seven seconds to fold, underlining Pericak’s claim that “there’s not a system or component on the car that’s untouched”. “You only get the 50th anniversary chance once. This was an opportunity to do it big and do it right.” While pricing for the new Mustang has yet to be officially revealed, it is expected to cost from around £30,000.
  9. New bull-run!

    New Lamborghini that is! Even better, is that it will be a lightweight bull! This is the Gallardo replacement, and might be called the Cabrera. After a bull. (naturally) It has been spotted testing at the Nurburgring. The Cabrera will enter production in 2014 following a reveal at the Geneva Motor Show. Lamborghini is keen to get a replacement for the Gallardo up and running, having very recently ended production of the model. The brand has also launched a new Microsite, code-named Hexagon Project, which allows visitors to hear the sound of the new car's engine. A production version of the Cabrera is set to go on sale in the UK during the second half of next year, and follows the example of its predecessor in sharing key components, including a lightweight carbonfibre and aluminium spaceframe structure, with the replacement for today’s Audi R8, due in 2015. The new car, which carries the internal codename LP724, is said to have grown marginally in length to almost 4500 mm, or 16 mm longer than its predecessor, with width and height remaining close to the 1900 mm and 1165 mm respectively of the Gallardo. This is backed up the test mule, which appears longer than the current Gallardo. Together with an edgy new exterior inspired by the dramatic Sesto Elemento concept, the Gallardo replacement is set to adopt a new interior layout that, with a slight increase in wheelbase over its predecessor at 2600 mm, will offer added levels of accommodation. Despite harbouring initial plans to base its new car around a contemporary carbonfibre monocoque similar to that of the Aventador, Lamborghini has been forced to follow a more conservative route dictated by parent company Audi and its second-generation R8 supercar. Both cars have been conceived around a modular spacefame. This will allow them to share vital components, including selected parts of a new, lightweight carbonfibre and aluminium structure that, Autocar can confirm, weighs 198 kg in the form to be used by the Audi. That is 24 kg less than the all-aluminium structure used by the current R8. Despite using a similar structure, the R8 and the Gallardo replacement will receive different wheelbases. The Audi’s is 30mm longer than the Lamborghini’s for greater levels of interior accommodation, including stowage space behind the seats. By using a shorter wheelbase than the Audi, the structure of the new Lamborghini is a further 3 kg lighter, at just 195 kg. The new spaceframe structure will be clothed in a body that uses a combination of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic and aluminium panels. The move is aimed at bringing the new mid-engined Lamborghini to the scales at less than 1500 kg — the official kerb weight of today’s four-wheel-drive Gallardo. Power will come from an updated version of the Gallardo’s naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine. It will be tuned to deliver close to 600 bhp and 400 lb ft of torque in standard guise, while complying with stringent new EU6 emissions regulations set to come into force next year. The reworked engine will be mated to a standard six-speed manual gearbox, while the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic from the R8 will be optional, replacing the current Gallardo’s six-speed automated manual ’box. Alongside standard four-wheel-drive models, Lamborghini also plans selected rear-wheel-drive versions of its new supercar. Meanwhile, rumours suggest that the Gallardo replacement will take the name Cabrera. In keeping with Lamborghini tradition, it refers to a line of Spanish bulls whose lineage can be traced to other famous breeds, including the Miura, Gallardo, Navarra, Veragua and Vistahermosa-Parladé.
  10. In the form of RS & RS GT forms :grin: Faster RS and RS GT versions of the new Jaguar F-type coupe are likely to be launched in the car's life-cycle, Jaguar design director Ian Callum has hinted. Speaking to Autocar at the Los Angeles motor show, Callum said there was "always scope" with a car like this to make more potent versions. "Our obligation is to maximise the opportunity in the car in every direction," he said. "It is clear that the platform is very capable. Whatever the powertrain, the body will work with it." The initial three models in the F-type coupe range reach the UK next March priced from £51,235, a full £7285 less than the price of the base convertible. In the US, the base F-type costs from $65,000 (£40,340), more than £10,000 less than in the UK. On the range-topping R, US customers pay $99,000 (£61,400), while UK customers pay £85,000 for the same model. Despite the gaps between the two counties pricing looking vast, Jaguar global marketing director Steven de Ploey said that once dealer margins, standard specification, currency rates and taxes (sales taxes are added on after the list price) were into consideration, the prices came out quite similar. "We're not making more money or ripping off customers in the UK," he said. "I would even argue the UK has one of the most competitive list prices. You have to consider taxes, the currency rates and the fact dealer margins are greater in Europe." The pricing is also consistent with Jaguar's strategy of pricing the F-type between the Porsche Boxster/Cayman and the 911 in any given market, de Ploey said. Launching the F-type coupe and cabriolet a year apart, and with more potent versions to come, marks the latest phase in a developing strategy from Jaguar of staggering its product launches over a model cycle in a similar way to the Porsche 911, rather than all at once. "We've shot all our bullets on day one in the past," said de Ploey. "We now have a well balanced model cycle plan for each car, upward, downwards and sideways. With the F-type, the R-S is one of those possibilities."
  11. Jag's crossover

    For the Chinese market only - they say......... A new five-seater concept version of Jaguar’s C-X17 luxury crossover has made its debut at the Guangzhou motor show. The revised C-X17, based on the concept revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September, has been developed specifically for the Chinese market, incorporating “a luxurious, spacious and innovative cabin featuring bespoke, high quality interior finishes,” according to Jaguar. Based on the company's new iQ[Al] architecture, it sits on 23-inch dark platinum alloy wheels. The five-seater C-X17 concept measures 4718 mm long, 1959 mm wide and 1649 mm high. Jaguar isn't letting on exactly what engine will power this sports crossover concept, but says it’s designed to be powered by the same V6 unit seen in the Jaguar F-type. The car maker also again hinted at its new range of 'Hotfire' efficient four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, expected to launch in 2015 across its models. Inside, the C-X17 concept seats five passengers in “plush, spacious comfort, with the second row of seats sculpted in a free-standing appearance”. As with the standard C-X17 concept, the boot is lined with waxed clay walnut wood, incorporating two tanned-leather ‘leisure’ seats that swing up out of the boot floor for use when the car is stopped and the rear hatch opened. The crossover SUV also features a panoramic glass roof, with a platinum-type material called ruthenium used on interior panels, creating a darker more tonal effect. The concept is fitted with an Interactive Surface Console multi-screen infotainment network with built-in wi-fi and a Rear Exit Detection system to safeguard against approaching blind-spot objects while opening vehicle doors.
  12. Fireball XL1

    Old man Piëch is at it again....... The Ducati-powered VW XL1 mooted by VW board chairman Ferdinand Piëch will be prototyped, although company insiders have admitted ensuring that the vehicle is sufficiently safe for its level of performance is currently their main priority. It has been reported that the XL Sport will be powered by a 1200cc engine that develops 187 bhp at 10,750rpm and 91 lb ft of torque at 9000rpm. It will be mated to a twin-clutch transmission. “We will make one, and we will open out testing to see what the reaction is,” said an insider. “It is a good challenge for our engineers, and in simple terms quite simple; it only requires suspension changes and aero tweaking once the engine is in. "The harder part is ensuring safety for the level of performance.”
  13. A concept from a game!! The game in question is Gran Turismo 6. The car in question is the AMG Vision Gran Turismo. Mercedes has given its design team free rein to create the Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo – a concept that can be driven in the new Gran Turismo 6 computer game, but which has also brought it to life with a real 1:1 scale model. The car has retro design cues, such as the gaping grille that’s similar to the 300SL racer of the fifties. Mercedes says the long bonnet, compact cabin and a teardrop-shaped rear are all typical sports car styling cues for the company. “By virtue of its proportions and expressive appearance, the Vision Gran Turismo embodies the brand’s defining design philosophy of sensuous purity in a unique way. The design reflects to extreme effect the perfect symbiosis between emotional, sensuous contours and intelligently presented high tech,” says Gorden Wagener, Vice President of Design at Mercedes. The two-seat interior has been inspired by the current Mercedes F1 car, and features a dashboard designed in the form of two gullwing doors positioned each side of the steering column. The speedo, rev-meter and temperature gauges are all mounted in a floating glass console in the driver’s eyeline. Storming performance is guaranteed, as the concept weighs 1,385 kg, but is powered by a biturbo 577 bhp V8 tuned to produce a ‘powerful exhaust note’. It has a set of carbon-ceramic brakes fitted to ensure fade-free stopping power. Mercedes presented the Vision Gran Turismo at the opening of a new R&D centre in Sunnyvale, California, but it’ll also be on the firm’s Los Angeles Motor Show stand
  14. The new Mercedes-Benz C-class has been spotted fully undisguised ahead of its reveal next year. Although the production-ready car has already been seen in a series of leaked images, this is the first time the new C-class has been seen in full and without any camouflage, with these spy photos taken during an official Mercedes photo shoot. The model in these pictures also reportedly shows the new AMG styling package. The new car will get its public debut at the Detroit motor show next year. Sales are expected to start soon after its debut, with the new, fifth-generation C-class representing a big departure from the existing model. Key among the changes is the adoption of a new rear-wheel drive platform, elements of which are shared with the E-class and S-class. The W205 C-class range will see the addition of a liftback model, officials from the German car maker have revealed. The new five- door has been conceived in response to the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3-series GT, although on current planning it isn’t expected to join the line-up until 2015. All the new models are based on a new modular architecture, which goes under the internal codename MRA. As well as serving the C-class, the new platform will also be used underneath the second-generation GLK SUV, which will once again be closely aligned to the C-class and, for the first time, be offered in right-hand-drive form when sales begin in 2015. The MRA underpinnings also provide scope for a stretch in dimensions, with the new C-class set to shift further upmarket in a move aimed at distancing it from the newly introduced front-drive CLA, which is 40mm longer than the current C-class. Sources say the new C-class will have a wheelbase of around 2850 mm, or 90mm longer than today’s model. With a corresponding increase in length and appreciably wider tracks permitting greater body width, the new car is claimed to offer greater accommodation and load capacity than its predecessor. Despite the increase in external dimensions, a series of lightweight construction initiatives, including a greater use of tailored blanks within the monocoque steel floorpan, inner body structure and other load-bearing elements, are claimed to reduce weight by up to 80 kg compared with today’s C-class. Further weight saving is evident in the body panels, which are made of aluminium, steel and composites. Stylistically, the new C-class borrows heavily from the latest S-class, albeit with a more sporting grille treatment similar to the facelifted E-class’s. The move is aimed at giving Mercedes’s key models a more cohesive look. But while Mercedes is quick to talk up the look of the new C-class’s exterior, it says the real progress has been made inside. The new model features high-quality fascias, new-generation switchgear, the largest display monitor in its class and more intuitive touchpad controls, which is all set to provide what one source describes as “the best and highest-quality interior in the class”. Added to this will be a vast array of driver assistance, entertainment and safety systems, all brought over from the E-class and S-class. The new C-class’s engine line-up includes new, improved and carry-over four, six and eight-cylinder units, along with various hybrid options. All retain a longitudinal mounting, but changes to the front-end architecture see the engines mounted further back for improved weight distribution and improved safety thanks to better-controlled deformation zones than those seen in the current C-class. At the more affordable end of the engine line-up will be the M274 four-cylinder petrol unit in both 1.6 and 2.0-litre guises, currently used in the A and B-class and the CLA, albeit in a transverse layout. They will be joined from the outset by a lightly revised version of the OM651 ECO four-cylinder common-rail diesel unit in both 2.0 and 2.2-litre forms, both featuring Euro 6 emissions compliance without the need for NOx-reducing urea injection, according to Autocar sources. Together, they will form the backbone of UK sales. Mercedes-Benz also plans a continuation of its six-cylinder engines, although they are expected to take a small percentage of UK sales. Included is the M276 V6 petrol unit in both naturally aspirated 3.5-litre form as well as turbocharged 3.0-litre guise, the latter set to appear in a new performance-orientated C400 BlueEfficiency model. Also planned is the latest evolution of the OM642 V6 common-rail diesel in 3.0-litre form. Alongside a standard six-speed manual gearbox, selected engines in the fifth-generation C-class will come with the option of Mercedes-Benz’s new 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic, which was revealed at the recent Frankfurt motor show. Other engines will be mated to the existing 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic unit until a planned mid-life facelift in 2017. Holding true to tradition, all models are rear-wheel drive, with a limited number set to offer optional 4Matic four-wheel drive. Significantly, the German car maker’s development boss, Thomas Weber, has confirmed that the new C-class will be the first Mercedes-Benz saloon to offer right-hand drive compatibility with its 4Matic four-wheel drive system.
  15. BMW has taken the wraps off the third generation of Mini developed under its ownership. The new F56-generation three-door hatchback has evolutionary styling, increased dimensions, a host of new technology and, most important, a new platform and a range of new three-cylinder engines that will also be used in BMW models. The new Mini was unveiled at the firm’s Oxford factory today before simultaneous motor show unveilings at the Tokyo motor show and LA motor show. It will go on sale in the UK next spring, with the initial range of Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S models priced from £15,300. Mini calls the new model “completely new from the ground up”, the result of which is “a Mini that is distinctly familiar but enhanced in every single way”. The new Mini is 3821 mm long, 1727 mm wide and 1414 mm high. That’s 98 mm longer, 44 mm wider and 7 mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase is up by 42 mm to 2495 mm and track widths increase by 42 mm at the front and 34 mm at the rear. The result of these increased dimensions is improved cabin space. Boot space is also up 30 per cent to 211 litres. The all-new engine line-up at launch features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit in the Cooper, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in the Cooper S. Each engine is turbocharged, has a stop-start system, complies with Euro 6 emissions regulations, offers peak power and torque lower in the rev range than its predecessor and is up to 27 per cent more fuel efficient than the engine that it replaces. The £15,300 Cooper has outputs of 134 bhp and 162 lb ft. Its combined economy is 62.8 mpg and CO2 emissions are 105 g/km. The £16,450 Cooper D’s figures are 114 bhp , 199 lb ft, 80.7 mpg and 92 g/km. For the r ange-topping, £18,650 Cooper S, they are 189 bhp, 206 lb ft, 49.6 mpg and 133 g/km. Three all-new transmissions in the front-wheel-drive model are offered. A six-speed manual is standard, and it comes with a rev-matching system on downshifts. A six-speed automatic is optional on all models. This increases CO2 emissions, but it still dips below 100 g/km in the Cooper D auto, with a figure of 98 g/km. A sports version of the auto is also optional, with shorter shift times, paddle shifters and rev matching on downshifts. Mini has yet to confirm other engines, but lower-powered triples in the One and One D are likely to follow later in 2014, as well as a higher-powered diesel for the Cooper SD and a more potent version of the Cooper S’s engine in the JCW. Underpinning the third-gen Mini is a new BMW-engineered platform called UKL1. It will be used to underpin the entire new Mini range, as well as a suite of new front-wheel-drive BMWs, starting with the 2-series Active Tourer mini-MPV, which is due on sale in the UK next summer after being unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March. The platform will be available in various different wheelbase lengths and track widths. It will support all-wheel drive and various hybrid and electric drivetrains. MacPherson strut suspension features at the front, with a new version of BMW’s Z-axle multi-link set-up at the rear. The use of aluminium and high-strength steel in the suspension reduces weight and improves rigidity, according to Mini, and results in “intensified” handling, improved acoustic refinement and fewer road vibrations. Extensive testing of the new car, which weighs 1085kg in base Cooper form, has taken place on UK roads. Variable Damper Control is optional, the first time that adaptive dampers have been offered on a Mini. These offer two set-ups: Comfort and Sport. The Cooper and Cooper D ride on 15-inch alloy wheels as standard. The Cooper S sits on 16s. Alloys of up to 18 inches are on the options list. The design is instantly recognisable as a ‘new’ Mini, with more distinctive front and rear ends and sharper creases in the bodywork. The proportions have altered slightly due to the increased dimensions and front overhang caused by the adoption of the UKL1 platform. The split front grille is much larger at the top and a more sculpted front bumper is adopted. The larger circular headlights feature a ring of LED lights, something inspired by the Rocketman concept from 2011. Full LED headlights feature for the first time in the segment. In profile, the roofline tapers down slightly towards the rear and the waistline slightly up for a wedge-shaped look, akin to the Mini Paceman. At the rear, the evolved look includes new LED rear light clusters. Mini claims that the increased size allows space for four adults and their luggage. The footwells are larger and there is more shoulder room for passengers, as well as bigger front seats with greater adjustability. The rear bench can be split 60/40. It also features tilt adjustment when an optional storage pack is specified. The design of interior is also recognisable as a Mini, albeit one with a more mature look and higher-quality materials. The circular theme remains, not least on the centre console, which features a screen of up to 8.8 inches in size to display all the infotainment. This is controlled via a choice of two BMW iDrive-style controllers. Most of the key driver information, including the analogue speedometer, has shifted from the large central display and directly into the driver’s eyeline. Another notable feature is the rehousing of the electric front window switches in the door trims from the toggles at the base of the centre console. The extensive options list includes a host of personalisation, comfort, connectivity, convenience and driver-assistance features.